English Bay and Stanley Park

Today we went to Vancouver to spend a whole day there, especially at English Bay and Stanley Park.
First, we strolled along English Bay until English Bay beach where Tom was brave enough to go swimming in the cold Burrard Inlet. Unfortunately, it was low tide so that the water slide was closed.
On our way back we walked along the seawall and admired this rock balancing art by John Shaver who just balances all stones without the use of any glue.

From Second Beach we headed towards the Vancouver Aquarium where we saw our first penguin walk. It was such fun watching those two penguins waddle along. I definitely have to see that again!
On our way to the last show starring Hana and Helen, we had a stop over at the B.C. Sugar Pool to say hi to Jack and Daisy, but only Jack came to the underwater viewing area which was great, nonetheless.
Then it was time to watch Hana and Helen in action – and, unfortunately, their show was over much too soon, as I could watch them for hours and hours…
We then had a quick look at the harbour seals (happily swimming in the water) and Steller sea lions (already dozing – well, one of the girls was, the other one just came out of the water).
And finally, we tried to get some more jellyfish shots to enter the competition with.

Anyway, as it was a really sunny day, we went to Lumberman’s Arch and to the water park close-by where Ben and Tom had lots of fun. A seagull seemed to copy all that behaviour there and went for some fun in the water, too.

Ben and Tom enjoyed this day very much – and so did we!

We saw belugas, sea otters, harbour porpoises, sea lions, harbour seals…

Our boys wanted to spend a whole day at the Vancouver Aquarium – and they didn’t even have to persuade us to do exactly that…

As there are so many animals to see, we started with the beautiful beluga whales. First we sat on one of the benches at the underwater viewing area and watched them swim by, before heading up to watch one of their training sessions – and later one of their shows, too.
We then had a look at all three sea otters: Katmai had fun playing with one of her toys, a red ball, whereas Elfin enjoyed a fishy snack.

Of course we went to see Jack and Daisy, and as soon as we were at the underwater viewing area of their habitat, Jack came down to say hi to us and enjoyed having our company – and so did we.

After a while we went to see the Steller sea lions and harbour seals in action which our boys found really interesting to watch.

And then it was time to go into the building to see even more of their amazing animals.

(to be continued…)

We were just passing by…

… and had to say hi to our favourite animals.

Besides, as it was a really hot day – and the two Steller sea lions seemed to seek some shade, too – it was refreshingly cool at the underwater viewing area of the Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Sugar Pool where Jack and Daisy have found a permanent home.

Sunday at the Vancouver Aquarium

Although we came relatively early, the Vancouver Aquarium had already attracted quite a lot of visitors, all keen to get to know its various inhabitants.

Anyway, at first, as you would probably have guessed by now, we made our way to Jack and Daisy’s habitat to say hi to them. We did not have to wait long for Jack to make his appearance at the underwater viewing area where he swam by. When he saw me, he stopped and said his proper hello, probably being happy to have found someone he recognized he could play with. And that we did, of course! How can I deny such a cutie anything? Daisy, however, just stayed in her favourite corner.

On our way to watch one of the training sessions with Hana and Helen, we stopped to have a look at Tanu and Katmai who were outside the water grooming themselves. Unfortunately, Elfin’s habitat was empty, and he was nowhere to be seen.
However, I cannot remember when we saw the last ‘Caring for dolphins’ session, so it was really interesting to see Helen and Hana interact with their trainers Paula and Charlotte while getting to know lots of new information.

Shortly before the beluga show was about to start, Lauren, an interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, asked me if I wanted to volunteer for the beluga show, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said yes, but it basically made my day. Thanks, Lauren!
So what did I have to do? Well, I simply volunteered to get splashed by Qila – twice! For those of you who still possess partial sanity, this may sound a bit weird, but it is simply an amazing experience to see that beluga sneaking up on you, aiming and blowing a load of water straight at your face. Oh, by the way, this also served an educational purpose and was to demonstrate that belugas have flexible lips…

As my t-shirt was soaked and needed some sun to get dry again, we wandered around to observe Hana and Helen who were either leisurely swimming (Hana) or playing with fish (Helen) in their smaller dolphin habitat.
After that we watched some more shows – from the ‘Seal and sea lion show’ and the ‘Dolphin show’ to ‘Jelly Deli’ where some brave volunteers could try various jelly fish samples and tell Lauren what and how they tasted. So if you want to try them, too, just come to the Vancouver Aquarium!
Our last show we watched was ‘Caring for belugas’ which we had never seen before and which was so incredibly interesting, especially as we could witness how the trainers, in this case Indy, are getting urine samples from the belugas.

In between most of those shows we, naturally, went to see our favourite harbour porpoises again and again. Jack was definitely in a playful mood today, so that we had lots of fun together. Later, shortly before it was time to go home again and less visitors were at the underwater viewing area, even Daisy came down to check out the cameras and to pose in front of them. So Marcus had some fun playing with Daisy, but Jack still got some play time with me…

All in all, this was a fantastic day at the Vancouver Aquarium – one I will never forget!

Another great day at the Vancouver Aquarium

Today we spent quite a lot of time at the Vancouver Aquarium – so much actually that we watched the dolphin show three times! But it never gets boring to watch Hana and Helen interact with their trainers. Besides, every time there is always something different to see, so that each show is definitely unique.
Marcus also had a nice chat with Leonora, a marine mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, – and we also had another quick chat with Lauren, an interpretive specialist at the Vancouver Aquarium. It is great to meet the passionate people who work with those amazing animals here at the Aquarium.

In the habitat opposite Hana and Helen’s one, all four female Steller sea lions were present and relaxing (or trying to sleep?) in groups of two, whereas the harbour seals were swimming non-stop.
The fur seals were probably inspired by the sea lions and decided to have a nap, too.

We also paid a visit to the African penguins, and all seven of them were standing close together – as usual.
From there it is just a step or two to see Aurora and Qila, the mother-daughter beluga duo swimming in their habitat. First Aurora was relaxing in rather shallow water while Qila swam by, but later we could watch both of them in action – from the underwater viewing area.

On we went to have a look at Elfin who seemed to be enjoying some rays of sunshine. Isn’t he cute?
Then we decided to go to see Schoona. I love sea turtles, and it is always very relaxing to watch her swim through her habitat.
On our way to the seahorses we also saw this beautiful tasselled wobbegong, a species of carpet shark. Its pattern looks amazing, eh?
And we really spotted some seahorses which usually takes some time. Can you see them, too?
A bit further on, we also saw those garden eels that always retreat into their holes when a fish swims above them. They are fun to watch, too.

However, as huge Jack and Daisy fans, the most interesting part for us was to watch these two harbour porpoises interact with their trainers, and later on seeing them checking out themselves in a window that was covered with a blind and acted as a mirror. It really looked like as if they were checking out their outward appearances, their flippers and flukes. That was so funny to watch.

After we said our goodbyes to them, on our way home, we got the most amazing view of Lions Gate Bridge which I had never seen before at night. So we had a quick stop to take some pictures of it. Stunning, eh?

What a wonderful afternoon in Vancouver

After having not seen them for quite a while, we got to spend some time together with our friends Leanne and Susannah – and what better place to do so than at the Vancouver Aquarium. We are all members and love to come there as often as we can – and although we have probably seen everything more than once already, we are always fascinated by all the animals there, and believe it or not, we feel that there is still so much more to see and experience!

First of all we went to see Jack and Daisy who, unfortunately, were not in their habitat, the B.C. Sugar Pool, but once again in the smaller dolphin habitat. There we could observe a training session with them, and it was really interesting to see how they reacted and interacted with their trainers.

Our second stop was at Elfin’s habitat where he was sleeping. Even that is so cute to watch. His female colleagues Tanu and Katmai were much more active in their habitat. Especially Katmai was so curious that she always looked into our direction even when she was grooming herself. And that was so cute, too!

Next it was Helen and Hana’s turn to shine in their show, and they were especially excited and enjoying themselves a lot today. They showed a lot of jumps this time, and that was really impressive.

Then it was time for the beluga show starring Aurora and her daughter Qila. Our favourite interpretive specialist Lauren once again passionately led the audience through a highly interesting show. It is always amazing to see those huge animals interact with their trainers. A seagull, well, probably the seagull as there is always one on site, sneaked into the programme but flew by and waited at the edge of the habitat.

We then went to Penguin Point where all seven penguins were standing outside. Later they headed over to the other side of their habitat, jumped into the water, swam over, and after a very short swim got out of the water again. Meanwhile a bald eagle flew above the Vancouver Aquarium.

As time was nearly over, we set out for Schoona’s habitat, but when we passed the sea otters’ habitats, we saw that it was feeding time for Elfin who enjoyed his food very much. The funny thing was that Katmai was standing at the glass door of her habitat trying to get some attention – and most likely more food.

I absolutely love those ancient looking creatures, like lizards, tortoises and also sea turtles – and Schoona is really a beautiful specimen. Despite her huge size, she swims so gracefully and seems to ignore all the fish, stingrays and sharks swimming around her.

Well, after we had said our goodbyes to Leanne and Susannah, we headed home, too. On our way along Stanley Park’s seafront we saw a harbour seal looking out of the water – and then it was gone. This was so amazing – coming from the Vancouver Aquarium and having seen the seals there, we suddenly saw one living in the wild just surface out of the blue…

On our way back to Waterfront SkyTrain station we saw such beautiful flowers and simply had to stop to take a picture of them. Don’t those bright red poppies and those red and yellow torch lilies look stunning?
Further on we also observed a blue heron walking along the jetty until it found ‘its’ yacht where it stopped and started to look for its dinner.

This was such an amazing day that simply has to be repeated soon!

We spent a great day in Vancouver

Sunday showed its sunny side so that we couldn’t resist and head out into the sunlight to enjoy a great day in sunny Vancouver.

On our way to Stanley Park we observed one of the blue herons standing in the water near Devonian Harbour Park and trying to catch some food – and that it did! It just seemed as if its food didn’t want to be eaten and tried to seal the blue heron’s bill. After this exciting experience we continued our walk to the Vancouver Aquarium where we couldn’t wait to get inside once again. Well, it was only the second time this week…

We headed to the first sea otters’ habitat where we watched Tanu and Katmai at feeding time. And then we saw that Elfin, the male sea otter, was in his habitat again – happily playing with a red ball. They are all so cute, and I simply can’t get enough observing them.

Then we went on to have a look at Hana and Helen who were happily swimming in their smaller habitat, especially Helen swam around all the time – on her back!
Opposite them the sea lion jumped out of the water while two seals were looking out of the water.

But as huge Jack and Daisy fans we simply had to go down to their underwater viewing area. Surprisingly, Daisy came down this time posing in front of the cameras – just like a little diva, but so super cute! The funny thing was that Jack didn’t come down as long as Daisy was there, instead he hovered nearby observing the situation. It looked like as if he had been parked there.

Then we made our way to the 3:30 pm dolphin show but had to stand in a second row as it was really crowded. As always, you could see that Hana and Helen had great fun during their training session which was commented on very enthusiastically by Lauren, a passionate interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium. After the show and a little chat with Lauren we went to see Hana and Helen at their underwater viewing area and were amazed how close they swam by.

After having spent some time there, we headed to Aurora and Qila’s underwater viewing area, sat on one of the benches and just watched those beautiful belugas in action.

From there it’s just a little walk to Jack and Daisy’s habitat where we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Jack (me) – and yes, he came down very often – or taking pictures of him (mostly Marcus, sometimes me as I was busy playing with him…). We were literally the last two persons to leave Jack. Strangely enough he somehow sensed that his fun was over and he stopped playing, and it seemed as if he was saying something like ‘You can’t go now. I’m so cute!’ That was heart breaking…

Anyway, we really had to leave the Vancouver Aquarium and strolled through Stanley Park where we saw two squirrels until we arrived at the Lost Lagoon. There we saw a blue heron, together with two ducks, on one of those logs placed in the Lost Lagoon. After a while a tree swallow landed on a bird house nearby. Of course, the usual Canada geese and seagulls were present, too. And then, just like some days ago, a male red-winged blackbird appeared, quickly followed by a female one.

At Devonian Harbour Park we couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw another pair of black-winged blackbirds there. The Canada geese family and their goslings from last time were swimming on the pond before heading onto land for their lunch or dinner.

As we had to get back to Burrard SkyTrain station, we walked along the seafront, passed the marina and saw two seagulls checking out their seafront property, i.e. this interesting piece of art. A bit further on we also had a great view of the Convention Centre, the sea plane terminal and Vancouver harbour. But we had to get some rest on those lovely benches at Jack Poole Plaza (who can’t resist sitting on those huge benches?) where we could once again enjoy the view of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, North Vancouver and the mountain range with those funnily shaped mountains.

As you can see, we had a most fantastic day which simply has to be repeated soon!

We just love the Vancouver Aquarium

Although it was already around noon, we decided to head towards Vancouver and spend some time at the Vancouver Aquarium. It is always quite a long walk from the SkyTrain station to Stanley Park, but we don’t mind it at all. Besides, we had our first little stop at Jack Poole Plaza where Vancouver’s Olympic Cauldron and the huge Harbour Spirit Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland (installed in 2010) can be admired. The view of the mountains and North Vancouver there is also spectacular.

On our way to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park we saw a raccoon on top of a bin – perhaps looking for its lunch?

Once inside the Vancouver Aquarium, we had a short stop at those epaulette sharks which are somehow cute to watch.
On we went to have a look at the sea otters Tanu and Katmai who were in their front habitat again, either relaxing or grooming. Aren’t they just cute?
And then finally, we made our way to Jack and Daisy’s underwater viewing area but, unfortunately, neither of them came down although we were waiting and waiting…
Well, if those harbour porpoises are too busy, what can we do?!
So we just went a little further to the next underwater viewing area and observed Aurora and Qila swimming by.

And then it was time for the dolphin show starring Hana and Helen who were very excited today, jumping out of the water or swimming very fast already – even before they could show their various behaviours during their show. Once again Lauren, a very friendly and enthusiastic interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, guided the audience through each and every step of the training session.

On our way back to Jack and Daisy again we passed the sea lion and seal habitat where a sea lion sat on her deck and tried to catch some sun – or so it seemed – and two seals were swimming by very quickly.
Another stop at Penguin Point let us see all seven penguins standing together on one spot, as usual, on their rockwork.

And then, finally, it was Jack and Daisy time! And can you believe it, Jack was in playing mood and came down to the viewing area so often that I was even a little bit exhausted after having played with him for an hour. I really can’t get enough of him, especially as he seems to copy some of my movements. Anyway, he is so cute – and he probably knows it!

Of course, we would have stayed longer but the Vancouver Aquarium closes at 5 pm, and we were literally among the last ones to leave! Just look at those empty spaces there…
However, we had a very quick stop at the epaulette sharks shortly before finally heading out.
But we will be back very soon!

As usual we went to the Lost Lagoon to enjoy the peace and quiet at one of our favourite places. Even our favourite bench was unoccupied so that we could enjoy the swans, ducks, seagulls and Canada geese. Surprisingly, even a male red-winged blackbird came by. I had never seen one at that location before, only at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary so far.

As an additional bonus we even saw a Canada geese family with their goslings swimming at the pond at Devonian Harbour Park.

Well, after such an exciting but also a little bit exhausting day, we just needed some relaxation time at those huge benches at Jack Poole Plaza with breathtaking views of either downtown Vancouver, Lord Stanley Park or North Vancouver, the sea plane terminal in the foreground and the mountains in the background. What a beautiful place to live in!

And to top it off, this wonderful day full of sunshine ended with a great sunset back home in Burnaby.

We went to the Vancouver Aquarium – once again

Well, we had to leave our apartment building as plumbing repairs were planned – and what better place to spend the day than at the Vancouver Aquarium?

So off we went taking the SkyTrain to get into Vancouver and then walking along the waterfront to finally reach the Vancouver Aquarium where we first of all went to see… well, you have certainly guessed it correctly, Jack and Daisy. Jack was in his habitat, but where was Daisy? A short walk confirmed that she was still in the smaller dolphin habitat waiting to get over to Jack again. After a while we could even see Vancouver Aquarium staff getting Daisy ready for her transfer to their harbour porpoise habitat. Once there, Daisy was greeted by Jack, and we could see them swimming happily together.

Of course, we went to see Hana and Helen who definitely had fun during their show presented by Lauren, a very passionate interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, whereas the two Steller sea lions opposite were making loud noises.
After some play time, Tanu and Katmai were holding paws and resting on the water.
We did not realize how fast time flew by so that we were among the last persons leaving the Aquarium before closing time. This only gave us the chance to have a last glimpse at one of the epaulette sharks.

Outside the Vancouver Aquarium we enjoyed a lovely stroll through Stanley Park where we watched some Canada geese and later on a raccoon climbing onto a container (although it really looks like a cat with a bushy tail, doesn’t it?).

At the Lost Lagoon we sat down on a bench, enjoyed the sunshine and watched the wildlife around us.

Then it was time to head home, once again walking along Vancouver’s waterfront where this time we could see various ships in front of the mountains. And we appreciated, as so often, what beautiful place on earth we are living on.

Beaver Lake, Vancouver Aquarium and Lost Lagoon

We decided to do some geocaching in Stanley Park and especially chose everything around Beaver Lake.

On our way to Beaver Lake, there were two squirrels having late breakfast or early lunch. And then, we were finally there and could enjoy the beautiful lake full of water lilies. There even were some ducks – and we saw a blue dragonfly!

We then decided to pay a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium – and we even saw a little squirrel on our way. Once there, we saw Jack, the harbour porpoise, playing with a leaf, Helen and Hana, the Pacific white-sided dolphins, performing in front of an audience and the sea lion swimming endlessly.

Of course, we had to return to the Lost Lagoon (where we saw a blue heron, ducks and a swan) to round up our wonderful day. It’s always so peaceful and quiet there, and we are enjoying each visit there so much.

By the way, we did find some geocaches!